Wimbledon Tennis Championship is arguably the most popular and famous Tennis tournament all over the world. In 1877, which is 125 years ago, the first-ever Wimbledon tournament was played. It was hosted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon which is in London. It had taken place over two weeks.
Till date, there are four major tournaments in tennis known as grand slams. But from there four, Wimbledon is the only one that is still played on grass, and hence the term lawn tennis was born.
Grass is such a surface that provides a very fast play in tennis as compared to the other surfaces such as clay and hard courts.
In the first year that Wimbledon was hosted, the fan following was quite less when compared to what it is today. Today the fanfare that the Wimbledon offers is extremely extravagant.
When compared to today’s championship, Wimbledon was so much different earlier.
Unlike today’s tournament which has 5 main events ( Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles) along with four junior’s event and four invitation competition, the first-ever Wimbledon had just one event, known as the Gentlemen’s Singles.
Women were not allowed to participate in the Wimbledon until 1884. Lottie Dodd made her impression on Wimbledon as she was the youngest woman to win the title at the age of just 15 years. She went on to make history by winning the title for four consecutive years and proving to everyone that women do have a place in sports.
It was in 1889 that Wimbledon started to gain the attention of the public. This is because William Renshaw did an outstanding job by winning the Wimbledon title seven years back to back. This started to turn the heads of the public and grabbed their interest in the mighty event.
During the 1900s, Wimbledon started becoming a popular event worldwide. It started gaining international attention when May Sutton from the United States of America went on to win the Ladies’ Singles title in 1905.
During the two World Wars, Wimbledon had been put on hold. But Tennis did grow in popularity. In 1884 as the women’s category was introduced, so was the men’s doubles category.
Initially, the Wimbledon was hosted at the Worple Road but it then was shifted to a much bigger site located at Church Road.
This is what the centre court used to look like:
It was in 1967 that history was made at the Wimbledon as it was cast on television in colour.
This great tennis championship has attracted the royal family too. The royal family have also been to the court. In 1926 the Duke of York who then went on to become King George VI also competed in the men’s doubles category. Sadly, he and his partner lost quite easily in straight sets.
Today the Wimbledon has become this massive extravagant and elite event that millions across the world wait for every year. Not only that, the queue to get tickets forms days before they are to be sold.
The history of Wimbledon is quite fascinating and interesting to see how it has grown over the years. From what it was to what it has become is a step forward in the world of sports.
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